Program Requirements

To become a Canadian Certified Optometric Assistant, students must complete 9 course modules, a practicum, one workshop and a final examination. Participants can choose to complete the program through our standard 36 week course or through independent study over the course of 24 months.

Required Resources

  • Textbook: System for Ophthalmic Dispensing, Third Edition, Brooks & Borish ($225)
  • Textbook: The Ophthalmic Assistant, 10th Edition, Stein, Stein & Freeman ($125)
  • A pre-fitted RGP contact lens to practice insertion and removal techniques (for Workshop & Module 8)
  • Opportunity to routinely practice skills in the area of the optometric setting pertaining to the Module of study

Access to the latest edition of the textbooks is mandatory for all registrants to complete the course Modules. Textbooks may be ordered online through www.lb.ca/cao. Both textbooks are available in e-book and hardcopy versions.

Full Program: 36 Weeks

2020-2021 Full Course registration will be held from August 4th to September 13th. The course will begin September 14th, 2020 and will run until the end of May.

Overview

  • Students complete 9 modules with the help of study guides, open-book assignments and time limited quizzes 
  • New skills are mastered and demonstrated by completing in-office Practical Skills Checklists
  • Students will be required to attend a regional CCOA Program Workshop for review of critical concepts from each module (DUE TO COVID-19 THE WORKSHOP WILL NOT BE HELD IN 2020-21)
  • A final exam will be administered in June

The Full Course curriculum and registration fee includes: CCOA program study guides, openbook assignments and closed book quizzes for all nine modules, Practical Skills Checklists, practical skills Workshop*, and closed-book CCOA Examination. The nine module sessions are 4 weeks in duration. The schedule begins with Module 1 on September 14th, 2020. Module sessions are back-to-back, finishing with Module 9 in the spring. The online CCOA Examination is written within a 2-week period in June.

*Due to Covid-19, workshops will not be hosted in 2021. The full course fee has been adjusted accordingly.

Independent Study: Up to 24 Months

Overview

  • Students complete 9 modules with the help of study guides, open-book assignments and time limited quizzes over the course of 24 months
  • New skills are mastered and demonstrated by completing in-office Practical Skills Checklists
  • Students will be required to attend a regional CCOA Program Workshop* for review of critical concepts from each module
  • A final exam will be administered in June*

*Due to Covid-19, workshops will not be hosted in 2021. 

The Independent Study program allows students to advance at their own pace. Modules do not have to be taken in sequence. Each module assignment, quiz and practical skills checklist must be completed within the specified 4 weeks before registering for another module. To be eligible to write the online CCOA examination in June*, all 9 modules must be successfully completed, and a full workshop attended.

*Additional fees apply

Course Modules

The CCOA modules cover the full range of relevant skills and knowledge: from anatomy and physiology, to patient management, sales, customer service, frame and lens dispensing, and contact lenses. A complete overview of the content in each of the modules is available here.

Workshop

The CCOA Program workshop is designed to further develop a student’s practical skills and to review the critical components of each module. The workshop provides students with an exciting learning experience. Each workshop is two days in length, usually held on Saturday/Sunday. The full agenda must be attended to be eligible to sit for the CCOA Examination. Given the uncertainty regarding COVID-19 and our concern for the health and safety of both students and instructors, the workshop component of the curriculum for the 2020-21 is being waived.

Final Exam

The final exam is unsupervised and can be completed online. 

Overview

  • Unsupervised online exam
  • Closed book
  • Participants have 3 hours to answer 100 multiple choice questions
  • Limited to two re-writes (fees apply)

*NEW (September 14th, 2020) Course grades required to pass the course and receive a CCOA designation are as follows:

  • Module assignments 65%
  • Time limited quizzes 65%
  • CCOA Examination 65%

CCOA Designation Maintenance (September 1, 2020): To maintain the CCOA designation, CCOAs must pay an annual membership fee and submit a total of 18 hours of Continuing Education credits including CPR every three years (fee applies). If renewal requirements are met, a new CCOA certificate, valid for a further three years will be issued. Failure to maintain current CCOA status forfeits the legal right to use the CCOA designation, and the certificate is no longer recognized.

The use of CAO’s CCOA designation is intended solely for OAs employed by an optometrist working in Canada. CAO reserves the right to revoke the CCOA designation if the OA is not compliant.